One step further in the ASEAN Economic Community Integration / by Sebastian MELCHOR

The Asian marketplace is home to 620 million consumers, and similarly to the European Union,  wants to be the next market to declare itself a single market and production base, starting  in December 2015. The ASEAN Member countries (Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, the Republic of Indonesia, the Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Malaysia, the Union of Myanmar, the Republic of the Philippines, the Republic of Singapore, the Kingdom of Thailand and the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam) are moving towards integration by creating a common economic area guided by principles such as the free flow of goods.

In the field of "health" supplements in particular, the ASEAN Healthcare Integration Roadmap, contemplated measures such as harmonising technical requirements and exploring possible Mutual Recognition Arrangements, to eliminate technical barriers to trade for health supplements without compromising public health and safety of ASEAN consumers. 

This will be achieved by a closer ASEAN cooperation on standards and conformance of these products to facilitate trade in the region. For instance, there are instruments like a Negative List of Substances; and Guidance on the use of additives and excipients, on safety substantiation, on claims and claims substantiation, Good Manufacturing Practice, labeling requirements, or general principles for establishing maximum levels of vitamins and minerals in health supplements.